The bill's sponsor, Rep. Don Ipson (R-St. George), said technology is available to jam the signal to drones and force them to crash, Gehrke writes. He told Gehrke, "This summer, wildfires in the state have become significantly worse due to drones interrupting air operations. It is dangerous and completely unacceptable, and this legislation takes steps to ensure that our emergency management personnel are safe and empowered to do their jobs effectively."
Gehrke writes, "A measure passed earlier this year makes it a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison if a drone causes a firefighting air tanker to crash, a third-degree felony if a drone collides with a firefighting aircraft, a class A misdemeanor if a drone keeps a tanker from dropping its retardant and a class B misdemeanor for operating a drone in a restricted area. nce tankers are airborne, Ipson said, they cannot land filled with retardant, and they have had to drop their payloads away from the flames so they could land." (Read more)